Kurds in Turkey

The HDP Istanbul candidates sign the LGBTI Rights Pledge

SPoD LGBTI is circulating an LGBTI Rights Pledge, part of the “LGBTI in the Parliament” campaign, for signatures in the run-up to the June 7th parliamentary elections in Turkey. The first signatories to the Pledge are HDP’s women candidates who proclaimed “We are the Rainbow.”

In the run-up to the parliamentary elections to be held on June 7th, the Istanbul based LGBTI advocacy group SPoD (Social Policies, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association) is circulating the LGBTI Rights Pledge to be signed by parliamentary candidates. Representatives of SPoD LGBTI drafted the LGBTI Rights Pledge as part of their “LGBTI in the Parliament” campaign. The campaign was started in February in order to demand the active inclusion of LGBTI individuals in decision and policy making processes. SPoD representatives visited the HDP [People’s Democracy Party], whose female candidates for Istanbul signed the Pledge. The candidates had previously included a section in their election manifesto called “We are the Rainbow.”

Are you ready to defend LGBTI rights?

The participants of the meeting, which was held in the HDP Istanbul Province Building, included Istanbul 2nd District parliamentary candidates Filiz Kerestecioğlu, Gülsüm Ağaoğlu, İnciser Alptekin, Elif Sırlıoğlu, Istanbul 3rd District parliamentary candidates Hülya İmak and Elif Bulut as well as  representatives from SPoD.

SPoD LGBTI Political Representation Field Coordinator Sezen Yalçın underlined the importance of the section “We are the Rainbow” in the HDP’s election manifesto for the LGBTI and asked the parliamentary candidates: “Are you ready to defend the LGBTI rights?” Lawyer Filiz Kerestecioğlu, the HDP candidate from the 2nd District, read out loud the LGBTI Rights Pledge and said: “We became candidates in order to carry the voices of the street and their struggles into the parliament.”

Gülsüm Ağaoğlu described the HDP election manifesto as a poem of human rights rather than a mere promise, and stated that, as a party open to all the colors of the rainbow, it is their goal to implement the demands outlined in the Pledge. Imak said, “When ‘we’ are in the parliament, you will be there as well. We are not your representatives, but are the voices of all those who have been victimized.” Bulut, Alptekin and Sırlıoğlu signed the Pledge and added that it is their wish to see a political environment where everyone can coexists while enjoying their rights and their identities without the need for such a pledge.

SPoD’s eyes are on the parliamentary representatives

SPoD LGBTI calls on the parliamentary candidates to embrace a political position that guarantees the LGBTI rights and freedoms and will share with the public the names of  parliamentary candidates who sign the pledge. If the candidates get elected in the upcoming parliamentary election, SPoD will hold them accountable to their pledge through monitoring their work in the new legislative period.


Who will defend the LGBT organization in Kurdistan?

Source: Müjde Tozbey Erden, “Kürdistan’da LGBT derneğini kim savunacak?” (“Who will defend the LGBT organization in Kurdistan?”) Sol Portal, 19 September 2014, http://haber.sol.org.tr/yazarlar/mujde-tozbey-erden/kurdistanda-lgbt-dernegini-kim-savunacak-97415

[The Van Attorney General’s Office has moved to disband the Van Youth and Ecology Association (Van Gençlik ve Ekoloji Derneği) on the grounds that the Association’s bylaw to “support sexual orientation” is against morality as determined by the Article 56 of the Turkish Civil Code.]

[Update: The court has ruled that it is not “contrary to morality” for Ekogenç to be active in the area of sexual orientation.]

You might have heard of the establishment of the Van Youth and Ecology Association [Van Gençlik ve Ekoloji Derneği] in our region. “What does this Association do?” you may have asked. The association works on several matters, but one of its primary goals is to lend support to individuals regarding their sexual orientations.

According to Article 2 of the Association’s code, “The Association may form alliances with, become a member of, work in solidarity with, and provide financial and moral support to local, national, and international and cultural and academic associations and/or associations working in the fields of women, refugee, asylum seeker, ecology, humanity, youth, children, sexual orientation as it sees fit by following relevant legal procedures.” [sic] Under the “Activities” heading, the code states that “The Association pursues activities in the fields of life, organic agriculture, climate change, rural development, education, culture, social politics, art, gender, discrimination, poverty, refugee, asylum-seeker, youth, children, the disabled, sexual orientation.” [sic]


People of Ağrı React to Posters of Transvestite Woman

Source: İlke News Agency, “Ağrılılardan travesti afişlerine tepki” (“People of Ağrı React to Posters of Transvestite Woman”), İLKHA, 07 August 2014, http://www.ilkehaberajansi.com.tr/haber/agrililardan-travesti-afislerine-tepki.html

Billboard advertisements in Ağrı for Asya Elmas, presented in recent local elections as the People’s Democratic Party (HDP)’s Kadıköy Municipal Council candidate to promote the HDP’s Presidential campaign propaganda, have drawn public reaction.

Asya Elmas

People in Ağrı have reacted harshly to a poster picturing transvestite Asya Elmas, displayed on a billboard on Kağızman Avenue in support of HDP Presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtaş.  Asya Elmas was presented in the local elections by the HDP as a candidate for the Municipal Council in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district.

Ağrı citizen S.S., reacting to the display of the poster, stated that this situation was nothing other than accustoming people to immorality. “By what right does the HDP, in spite of her videos, which appear on video sharing websites, YouTube chief among them, and in spite of the information about her, display this person’s picture on Ağrı’s busiest avenue?  The HDP must put an end to this immorality immediately.”

Ağrı citizen Süleyman K., who says that he is a stalwart defender of the HDP, emphasized that an effort was being made to corrupt the people of Ağrı, saying that this poster was displayed deliberately. He responded, “I thought that the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and the HDP, to whom I have been devoted and for whom I have advocated, were defending our rights and keeping alive our customs and traditions. People who we knew to be conscious, educated, and informed would tell us the true aims of these people, but we would react, saying, ‘You have ulterior motives.’ Now I realize that the HDP, the BDP, with its changing name, and their affiliates are moving towards this goal. This disgraceful poster must be removed at once, or else they are going to lose me and people like me.”